Rupert Murdoch media rummage through personal belongings of flight MH17 victim


This video from eastern Ukraine is called At Sky News, reporter Colin Brazier going through MH17 victims’ belongings.

From AFP news agency:

Sky News apologizes after reporter rummages through luggage of flight MH17 victim on air

Sunday, July 20, 2014 20:20 EDT

British broadcaster Sky News apologised after one of its presenters searched through luggage at the crash site of downed flight MH17 live on air on Sunday.

Sky News is part of the Rupert Murdoch empire, with a very long list of privacy violations: from a murdered schoolgirl to actors to bereaved military families to the British royal family; etc. etc.

In a news broadcast, presenter Colin Brazier was shown rooting through personal belongings in an opened suitcase at the site, picking up a set of keys before saying: “We shouldn’t really be doing this.”

The footage was greeted with anger on social media, including calls for Brazier to be sacked.

BBC presenter Jacqui Oatley tweeted that she was “astonished” while Joe Watson, a professor of Mass Media at Baker University described it as a “horrible moment for journalism”. …

The incident came as Australia called for respect for the bodies of the 298 who perished in the disaster, amid reports the crash site was being trampled and interfered with as investigators struggled to reach the site due to conflict.

See also here. And here. And here.

From Salon.com in the USA:

Brazier’s eagerness to jump into the personal effects of a victim recalls the worst of tabloid behavior – and for many in the UK, it no doubt calls to mind the ethical failures of the Murdoch empire, including hacking into the voicemails of a murder victim.

CNN somehow outdoes Colin Brazier in its MH17 coverage: here.

A Dutch TV journalist rummaged as well at MH17 disaster site: here.

Britain: A desire not to embarrass the Royal Family has emerged as a key reason why the Metropolitan Police failed thoroughly to investigate phone hacking at the News of the World in 2006: here.

The way the crash of flight MH17 in Ukraine is being politically exploited parallels the way the 9/11 terrorist attack in the US was utilized to pursue reactionary aims: here.

Football: Oligarch and Shakhtar Donetsk owner Rinat Akhmetov has threatened to fine a host of players who have failed to return to Ukraine amid fear for their safety due to the ongoing conflict in the capital: here.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crash in Ukraine, tragedy and war


Wreckage of flight MH17 in Ukraine

By Alex Lantier:

The crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine

19 July 2014

The remarks Friday by President Barack Obama on the tragic crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine raised far more questions than they answered.

Obama continued the mind-numbing propaganda barrage from US officials and media, denouncing Russia and pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine for shooting down the plane and demanding the surrender of the separatists to the Western-backed regime in Kiev. However, his remarks themselves underscored that this propaganda campaign has no factual basis whatsoever and is leading Washington into an explosive confrontation with Russia.

Obama said: “Here is what we know so far. Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine. We also know that this is not the first time a plane has been shot down in eastern Ukraine. Over the last several weeks, Russian-backed separatists have shot down a Ukrainian transport plane and a Ukrainian helicopter, and they claimed responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian fighter jet. Moreover, we know that these separatists have received a steady flow of support from Russia.”

Reread Obama’s comments carefully. You will see that nothing he said proves that pro-Russian forces fired a missile at MH17. Separatist rebels have shot down low-flying Ukrainian military aircraft with portable anti-aircraft missiles, but this does not mean they had either the intent or the capability to destroy a jumbo jet flying at 33,000 feet—an act they knew would hand Washington a massive propaganda weapon.

As for Obama’s claim that the separatists control the area from which the missile was fired, for which he presented no evidence, this means nothing given the chaotic conditions in eastern Ukraine. In the city of Donetsk, the stronghold of the anti-Kiev separatists, forces loyal to Kiev control the airport, from which they routinely shell the city. In fact, shortly before MH17 was allegedly destroyed by a BUK missile near Donetsk, the Kiev regime reinforced its anti-aircraft batteries in the region.

Remarkably, Obama went on to admit that his administration does not know who shot down MH17 or why. He said, “I think it’s too early for us to be able to guess what intentions those who might have launched the surface-to-air missile might have had… In terms of identifying specifically what individual or group of individuals, you know, personnel ordered the strike, how it came about—those are things that I think are going to be subject to additional information that we’re going to be gathering.”

Again, reread Obama’s statement carefully. Behind all the conditional statements and verbal hedging, he is saying nothing about who launched the strike. Obama’s remarks directly contradict those of his own UN ambassador, Samantha Power,

a ‘liberal hawk’ within the Washington administration, a believer in ‘humanitarian wars

who had just stated that there was “credible evidence” that Russia was responsible for the crash, adding, “Russia can end this war. Russia must end this war.”

Obama proceeded to throw a question mark over the entire coverage of the MH17 crash: “I want to point out there will likely be misinformation as well. I think it’s very important for folks to sift through what is factually based and what is simply speculation.”

The picture of the situation that emerges from Obama’s account is remarkable. By his own admission, the United States and its allies are hurtling toward a military confrontation with Russia, under conditions where the White House does not know who is responsible for the MH17 crash and believes powerful political forces are feeding misinformation to the media.

Having already admitted that the CIA did not bother to inform him before spying on German officials, Obama is apparently trying to figure out what his own government is doing—all the while irresponsibly denouncing Russia.

Properly considered, any of the possible explanations for the firing of a missile at MH17 raise the most serious questions about the risk of a direct clash between the Western powers and Russia.

While there is a deafening silence on this in the US media, forces loyal to Kiev may well have fired a BUK missile that took down MH17. The motive that would lie behind such an act is demonstrated by the US media campaign itself: to denounce Russia, step up the campaign for NATO intervention in Ukraine, and seek to whip into line some of Washington’s European allies who are balking at imposing sweeping sanctions against Russia.

The very real possibility that pro-Kiev forces shot down the plane takes into account the close ties between CIA operatives, mercenaries of the US firm formerly known as Blackwater, European intelligence agencies, and the fascist militias that spearhead Kiev’s armed forces. It raises the possibility of direct complicity of sections of the American state in the murder of MH17’s passengers and crew.

Particularly significant are Russian media reports that MH17 briefly crossed the path of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s flight returning from the World Cup and an international summit in Brazil, and that factions in Moscow believe the missile that destroyed MH17 may have been intended for Putin. It is impossible to verify whether such reports are correct. However, if sections of the Russian state come to believe that American and European intelligence agencies sanctioned an assassination attempt on the Russian head of state, the implications are mind-boggling.

On the other hand, if, as the US propaganda campaign claims, MH17 was destroyed by a missile fired by forces allied to or directly aided by Russia, this raises the question of what message the Russian factions involved were trying to send by demonstrating their willingness to murder nearly 300 people. It would certainly show that Moscow takes the crisis in Ukraine far more seriously than Washington realizes, and the situation is extremely dangerous.

The US media and political establishment, in their haste to denounce Russia, appear completely uninterested in these questions. This attitude combines utter recklessness with light-mindedness. What has already been revealed by the MH17 disaster is the deep crisis of Western imperialism and the risk of global war.

United Nations about MH17: here.

Though the investigation of the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 has barely begun, the Obama administration and the U.S. media have sold the world on the narrative blaming Russia’s President Putin, with Secretary of State Kerry sealing the deal, writes Robert Parry: here.

Barely 24 hours after the crash of a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine, leading German media outlets are pushing for an escalation of the confrontation with Russia: here.

Newcastle have paid tribute to two fans who died on flight MH17 on their way to support the club in New Zealand: here.

From the BBC:

The appearance of far-right activists, both foreign and home-grown, among the Ukrainian volunteers fighting in east Ukraine is causing unease.

Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with seven years’ experience in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. He is currently fighting with the Azov Battalion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer armed group in eastern Ukraine. He is known to be dangerous to the rebels: reportedly there is a bounty of nearly $7,000 (£4,090; 5,150 euros) on his head.

In a telephone conversation from an undisclosed location, Mr Skillt told me more about his duties: “I have at least three purposes in the Azov Battalion: I am a commander of a small reconnaissance unit, I am also a sniper, and sometimes I work as a special coordinator for clearing houses and going into civilian areas.”

As to his political views, Mr Skillt prefers to call himself a nationalist, but in fact his views are typical of a neo-Nazi.

“It’s all about how you see it,” he says. “I would be an idiot if I said I did not want to see survival of white people. After World War Two, the victors wrote their history. They decided that it’s always a bad thing to say I am white and I am proud.”

‘One stray liberal’

Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white people.

Terrible death of Malaysian airlines passengers and crew in Ukraine


Malaysian Airlines flight path

295 people, from many countries, on their way from the Netherlands to Malaysia, died a terrible death. First of all, condolelences to all the families and friends of the victims, wishing them strength in this tragedy. There should be an unbiased, thorough investigation how this happened.

Alex Lantier writes about this:

18 July 2014

Before any investigation had been carried out, leading US politicians and media outlets seized upon yesterday’s terrible crash of a Malaysian Airlines flight in east Ukraine, which cost 295 lives, to legitimize stepped-up threats against Russia, posing the danger of all-out war.

The wreckage of Flight MH 17 is strewn over a nine-mile perimeter in an area controlled by pro-Russian militias fighting the Western-backed Ukrainian regime in Kiev. Flight safety experts explained yesterday that the crash could be due to mechanical failure, a bomb inside the jet, or the plane being shot down.

Less than an hour after the crash, however—before even the size and location of the crash site were known—leading US politicians, American media outlets and the US puppet regime in Kiev were insisting that Russia and its east Ukrainian allies had shot down the jetliner with a BUK missile. Ukrainian Interior Ministry official Anton Gerashchenko told the Wall Street Journal: “They clearly thought that it was a military transport plane that they were shooting at. They were the ones who did this.”

US intelligence agencies also claimed the plane had been shot down by a missile, citing satellite data, but without saying who had fired it. Neither Kiev nor Washington presented any evidence, such as satellite images, radar tracking data or eyewitness testimony, to back up their allegations.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak—whose country faces a second airline disaster this year, after the March 8 disappearance of all 239 people aboard MH 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing—called for investigations to proceed. He said: “The Ukrainian authorities believe that the plane was shot down. At this early stage, however, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy … If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must be swiftly brought to justice.”

If MH 17 was shot down by a BUK missile system—a Soviet-designed system fielded by both the Russian army (with 250 units) and the Ukrainian army (60 units)—there are three possibilities as to who shot it down. It could be the Kiev regime or the various far-right militias fighting alongside its armed forces, east Ukraine’s pro-Russian separatists, or the armed forces of Russia itself.

Russian media reported that on Wednesday, Kiev dispatched anti-air missile batteries to the area around Donetsk, the largest city held by pro-Russian militias. From there, advanced missile systems like BUK or S-300 could have shot down a plane in the region.

Moscow or pro-Russian separatist militias in eastern Ukraine operating BUK batteries with technical assistance from Russian forces could also have hit the jet. The east Ukrainian separatist forces reportedly seized a BUK battery when they captured a Ukrainian military base earlier this week, and they claimed they had shot down a Ukrainian airplane shortly before MH 17 crashed.

As to whether Kiev, Moscow, or their allied militias shot down MH 17, one can only wait for an investigation to proceed, assuming that the fighting in east Ukraine will allow it to take place. Whoever shot the jetliner down, if it was indeed shot down, the main responsibility for this horrific act lies with the catastrophe unleashed in Ukraine by Washington and its European allies.

The crash took place a day after Washington and the European Union (EU) imposed new sanctions against Russia, amid a bloody civil war in Ukraine in which Washington has backed a far-right, anti-Russian regime in Kiev that came to power in a fascist-led putsch this February. In the past week, mass graves were discovered in east Ukrainian cities captured by the Kiev regime, and Ukrainian artillery bombarded Russian cities near the border.

Washington has sought to continuously intensify political and military tensions in order to encircle Russia, and, by making the situation ever more violent, counter elements in Germany who, for reasons of their own, are nervous about the subordination of German policy to US interests. US officials and media therefore seized on the crash to demand military escalation in Ukraine, a Russian capitulation to US interests in Ukraine, and a total alignment of the European powers on US policy.

The New York Times placed all blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though it admitted that it did not know who was responsible for the crash. Noting that “it may take a while to fully sort out who is responsible,” it called for an end to the Ukraine conflict, asserting: “There is only one man who can stop it—President Vladimir Putin of Russia, by telling the Russian-backed secessionists in Ukraine to end their insurgency and by stopping the flow of money and heavy weaponry to these groups.”

US Republican Senator Lindsay Graham called the crash a “game-changer,” adding: “You would take the sanctions we’ve unilaterally imposed, toughen them and get the world behind them. Start arming the Ukrainian military, that is what I would do.”

Fellow Republican Senator John McCain said: “I think there’s going to be hell to pay and there should be … If these are separatists, which are also Russian, Vladimir Putin should be paying a heavy price.”

Aspiring Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said the European powers now had a responsibility to impose the deep economic sanctions on Russia that Washington has demanded of them. “They must say, ‘Putin has gone too far and we are not going to stand idly by,’” Clinton said. “There should be outrage in Europe.”

Such a policy of deliberately and continuously provoking a major military power armed with nuclear weapons, such as Russia, is immensely dangerous. In the state of heightened military alert and uncertainty provoked by the Ukrainian civil war, engineered by the Western powers, a passenger jet has been destroyed and nearly 300 lives lost.

One must ask: what is the next “unexpected event” in the spiral of escalation in Ukraine, and will it trigger a direct military confrontation between the United States, the EU, and Russia involving nuclear weapons?

Conservation of orang-utans in Malaysia


This video says about itself:

8 May 2014

Whitley Award for Conservation in Ape Habitats, donated by the Arcus Foundation, Melvin Gumal – Protecting Borneo‘s iconic great apes: Conservation of orang-utans in Sarawak, Malaysia.

See also here.

New spider species discovery in Malaysian Borneo


This video is called Giant spider in Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia at the Cultural Village.

However, there are also much smaller spiders in Malaysian Borneo.

From Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands:

Students on field course bag new spider species

Posted on 07-03-2014 by Menno Schilthuizen

Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Danau Girang Field Centre, Sabah Wildlife Department, Pensoft Publishers

As a spin-off (pun intended) of their Tropical Biodiversity course in Malaysian Borneo, a team of biology students discover a new spider species, build a makeshift taxonomy lab, write a joint publication and send it off to a major taxonomic journal.

Discovering a new spider species was not what she had anticipated when she signed up for her field course in Tropical Biodiversity, says Elisa Panjang, a Malaysian master’s student from Universiti Malaysia Sabah. She is one of twenty students following the course, organised by Naturalis Biodiversity Center in The Netherlands, and held in the Danau Girang Field Centre in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The aim of the one-month course, say organisers Vincent Merckx and Menno Schilthuizen, is to teach the students about how the rich tapestry of the tropical lowland rainforest’s ecosystem is woven.

Besides charismatic species, such as the orang-utans that the students encounter every day in the forest, the tropical ecosystem consists of scores of unseen organisms, and the course focus is on these “small things that run the world”—such as the tiny orb-weaving spiders of the tongue-twistingly named family Symphytognathidae. These one-millimetre-long spiders build tiny webs that they suspend between dead leaves on the forest floor. “When we started putting our noses to the ground we saw them everywhere,” says Danish student Jennie Burmester enthusiastically. What they weren’t prepared for was that the webs turned out to be the work of an unknown species, as spider specialist Jeremy Miller, an instructor on the course, quickly confirmed.

The students then decided to make the official naming and description of the species a course project. They rigged the field centre’s microscopes with smartphones to produce images of the tiny spider’s even tinier genitals (using cooking oil from the station’s kitchen to make them more translucent), dusted the spider’s webs with puffs of corn flour (also from the kitchen) to make them stand out and described the way they were built. They also put a spider in alcohol as “holotype”, the obligatory reference specimen for the naming of any new species—which is to be stored in the collection of Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Finally, a dinner-time discussion yielded a name for this latest addition to the tree of life: Crassignatha danaugirangensis, after the field centre’s idyllic setting at the Danau Girang oxbow lake.

All data and images were then compiled into a scientific paper, which, via the station’s satellite link, was submitted to the Biodiversity Data Journal, a leading online journal for quick dissemination of new biodiversity data, which is currently considering it for publication. Even though thousands of similarly-sized spider species still await discovery, Miller thinks the publication is an important one. “It means we provide a quick anchor point for further work on this species; the naming of a species is the only way to make sure we’re all singing from the same score,” he says.

Field station director Benoît Goossens adds: “This tiny new spider is a nice counterpoint to the large-mammal work we’re doing and having it named after the field centre is extremely cool”. The Danau Girang Field Centre is located in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, a strip of rainforest along Sabah’s major river, squeezed in by vast oil palm plantations on either side. Despite intensive search, the students could not find the new spider in the plantations.

The notion of spiders using ants as bodyguards seems a bit contradictory, but that is exactly what occurs on the tropical forest floors of the Philippines. The jumping spider (Phintella piatensis) strategically nests within the vicinity of the aggressive Asian weaver ant (Ocecophylla smaragdina) as a defense tactic against its main predator, the spitting spider (Scytodes species): here.

Borneo is losing rainforest faster than anywhere else in the world: here.

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First dinosaur discovery in Malaysia


This video is called First Malaysian dinosaur fossil found in Pahang: Researchers.

From The Star in Malaysia:

Tuesday February 18, 2014 MYT 11:00:34 AM

Fish-eating dinosaur fossil discovered in Pahang

By Isabelle Lai

PETALING JAYA: Fossil remains of a carnivorous “fish-eating” dinosaur has been discovered in Malaysia, with Universiti Malaya set to unveil the evidence today.

Discovered in the rural interiors of Pahang, the fossil remains of the spinosauridae dinosaur are believed to be from the late Mesozoic era, most likely from the Cretaceous period between 65 million and 145.5 million years ago.

This is believed to be the first time that fossil remains of a dinosaur have been found in Malaysia.

The dinosaur remains had been identified by a team led by Associate Professor Dr Masatoshi Sone of the university’s geology department in collaboration with reptile paleontology specialist Professor Ren Hirayama from Tokyo’s Waseda University.

Spinosauridae is a particular family of carnivorous dinosaurs characterised by its elongated, crocodile-like skulls with conical teeth that had either very tiny or with no serrations.

Another spinosauridae fossil had also been discovered in Australia in 2011, before which the species was believed to have existed only in the northern hemisphere.

Scientists had discovered a 125-million-year-old neck vertebrae identical to that of a Baryonx

sic; Baryonyx

in Victoria, Australia.

Dr Masatoshi will be attending today’s press conference, along with Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, UM vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin and the Science Faculty dean Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Sofian Azirun.

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New lizard species discovery in Malaysia


This video is about a species, related to the newly discovered lizard. The video is called Cyrtodactylus peguensis male chirping.

From Zootaxa:

A new species of karst forest-adapted Bent-toed Gecko (genus Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827) belonging to the C. sworderi complex from a threatened karst forest in Perak, Peninsular Malaysia

Abstract

A new species of Bent-toed Gecko Cyrtodactylus guakanthanensis sp. nov. of the C. sworderi complex is described from a limestone forest in Perak, Peninsular Malaysia whose karst formations at the type locality are within an active quarry.

Cyrtodactylus guakanthanensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other Sundaland species by having the following suite of character states: adult SVL 77.7–82.2 mm; moderately sized, conical, weakly keeled, body tubercles; tubercles present on occiput, nape, and limbs, and extend posteriorly beyond base of tail; 37–44 ventral scales; no transversely enlarged, median, subcaudal scales; proximal subdigital lamellae transversely expanded; 19–21 subdigital lamellae on fourth toe; abrupt transition between posterior and ventral femoral scales; enlarged femoral scales; no femoral or precloacal pores; precloacal groove absent; wide, dark postorbital stripes from each eye extending posteriorly to the anterior margin of the shoulder region thence forming a transverse band across the anterior margin of the shoulder region; and body bearing five (rarely four) wide, bold, dark bands.

Destruction of the karst microhabitat and surrounding limestone forest will extirpate this new species from the type locality and perhaps drive it to complete extinction given that it appears to be restricted to the particular microhabitat structure of the type locality and is not widely distributed throughout the karst formations. As with plants and invertebrates, limestone forests are proving to be significant areas of high herpetological endemism and should be afforded special conservation status rather than turned into cement.

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